That’s a famous line I touted about 7 years ago to an associate of mine, a PhD. nonetheless, whose head was in the gutter after he “wholeheartedly” made the Switch to nutrient-rich healthy eating.
One day, he “broke down” and ate a Kit-Kat. You know those crunchy chocolate bars that we grew up on, which I must admit are very yummy. When he brought it to my attention, expecting me to unleash some motivational monologue and a great deal of tactical diet-speak, I said, “Howie, all you did was eat a Kit Kat.” That’s how I left it. Because that is all that happened.
Howie, like so many others, was well into his nutrition transition at this time. He made the wholehearted and educated decision to Switch, away from eating predominantly nutrient-poor foods to eating in a nutrient- rich way, based on nutrient dense, vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains in great tasting ways. And. while he was eating 90% or more nutrient- rich foods, at the time, Howie had also decided to go 100% plant based, meaning Vegan with no animal foods whatsoever. He was still, as you can see, eating some refined foods.
I later explained to him that it would be good to lighten up and that it was this experience. I said that for all the reasons wrapped up in his decision to eat a Kit Kat, which require attention and time, that having 10% of your calories for old food favorites, or times when you can’t get your preferences met, or to deal with any situation where things may go awry, just makes sense. I further explained that this was not a problem, but rather “par for the course.”
Of course his past conditioning around dieting was getting in the way of this more liberated approach of “transitioning.” I enlightened him to the fact that transitioning the way one eats is not limited to nutrition alone. and that that’s why we were promoting the More Plant-Based Nutrient Rich® approach to improving the way one eats, and why 90% or More was the ideal to which we were all striving.
You will learn a great deal more about the 90% or More Plant-Based Nutrient Rich® approach after you take your Personal Diet Quality Assessment here at nutrientrich.com and start reading the Plan.
I began promoting the More Plant Based Nutrient Rich® approach to maintaining a nutrient-rich healthy eating style, long before the findings of The China Study–the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted, determined that ideally less than 10% of our calories should come from animal products, if you choose to eat them, or the reinforcement from Joel Fuhrman, MD, who also adopted this idea.
I began thinking in terms of eating 80-90% or more, plant-based nutrient-rich foods, with approximately 10% or less of the foods you eat coming from nutrient-poor animal products and refined foods. I did so because I felt it was very practical, given the way people were used to eating for so many years, the fact that most people can’t stick to diet programs perfectly, and the fact that you can’t always control your own behavior, at certain times, let alone all external circumstances.
The philosophy was also driven by the reality that there are thousands of people who live to 80-90 years old, some even longer, if you are a “George Burns” type, who are eating the SAD Standard American nutrient-poor Diet. So, I figured that if you were eating 80-90% nutrient rich, instead of nutrient poor, you would probably live a very long and healthy life.
I put the emphasis on the 90% later because of the stance taken in The China Study, based on it’s seminal findings, and the studies of the healthy life expectancies in the longest-lived populations, all or most of whom eat less than 10% of calories from animal products and refined foods.
John Robbins, who recently launched The Food Revolution Summit, was also a big factor in this. In his book, Diet for a New America, he said that no one would go hungry in the world if people simply ate 10% less animal foods than they are eating right now. He is also the author of Healthy at 100, which explains the secrets of the world’s healthiest and longest lived people.
So back to Howie.
I didn’t want him to make more out this situation than it needed. I later explained the philosophy, “out of mouth out of mind,” and that while one of his old food favorites, Kit-Kat’s, had been out of his mouth for a while, they were not just yet out of his mind, and he hadn’t found a replacement. I said that he would continue to default to Kit-Kat’s, during certain situations, as a coping mechanism like he had in the past, until he created a new habit or routine, or changed the situation itself. I explained that the situation would need to be addressed and that he needed to establish a new default that gave him that same pleasure, until he didn’t need it anymore, even if the new default was nutrient rich!
I believe I introduced him to Medjool dates, a very sugary nutrient-rich food that is very sweet; so sweet they can put a Kit-Kat to shame. He tried them out, liked them, learned all about them, and discovered how to eat them, and eventually created a new default. Eventually, he also learned how to handle that situation very differently.
It’s amazing what happens when you get new information and begin thinking differently.
What’s the moral of the story?
There are several:
a) There is more to changing the way you eat than food alone.
b) There is a nutrient-rich version or replacement for every food you are eating right now.
c) If you’re going to eat as a coping mechanism, make it nutrient rich, so that you get other benefits and the consequences aren’t nearly as negative.
d) Empathy goes a long way when addressing habits and reasons why you do what you do.
e) Even after you’ve make the decision to Switch to Rich, you will likely still eat a nutrient-poor food from time to time, even if you’ve gone Vegan. Vegan’s are notorious for eating lots of refined junk foods even though they are not eating animal foods.
f) Understand that transitioning requires strategy(s) at times. It’s not productive to turn your eating a “Kit-Kat” into personal, ego-driven, battle of staying on or falling off your diet. That’s the industry of change; steer clear of all that diet speak and drama. There are reasons why things happen and why you do things. Take the intelligent approach, keep it impersonal, and address the present situation.
g) Sometimes you may just choose to eat a Kit-Kat and be completely in control; that’s fine.
h) When you are eating More Plant-Based Nutrient Rich®, that 10% is there, until you don’t need it anymore. Default to it when you need to.
I’m sure I could finish the alphabet with new “morals of this story,” so to speak, but you should be getting the idea. Eating Nutrient Rich is not a diet all wrapped up in the “diet speak” of old. Forget all of that on and off the program, story-driven, emotional roller coaster-creating drama that so many of us have learned from the diet industry, which is used to make an industry out of something that shouldn’t even be an industry, especially when the main goal is to keep people stuck dieting, indefinitely.
As you can deduce from this post, it’s an industry that can snare even the smartest people, who have no yet learned that the power of Switching to a nutrient-rich healthy eating style. If you have not yet developed the psychology to support healthy eating, in an unhealthy world, and haven’t yet learned the art and science of transitioning, you are at a disadvantage.
This is why making the Switch to Rich–Nutrient Rich, the Great-Tasting Healthy Way to Eat, starts with a wholehearted, educated decision and then, becomes what we call a nutrition transition that happens over time.
We help you travel that path with The Nutrient Rich® Healthy Eating Plan, the most direct path to success, helping you learn what takes most people 20 years or more to discover about making a transition, successfully. But, even with the Plan, transitioning takes time and sometimes you will eat your old food favorites.
Just remember, “all you did was eat a Kit-Kat”. Forget it and keep moving forward!